Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

As I write this blog my heart is heavy as the world seems to be scope locked on Gainesville, FL for all the wrong reasons.

Alachua county is where God has called CCA to minister and lift up the name of Christ. It is a name that is intended to be synonymous with love, charity, forgiveness and mercy. Instead, because of a small handful of over zealous and completely misguided believers, His name is being drug through the mud.

Please understand that while I do feel a sense of irritation and a little anger at the words and actions of those who represent this particular ministry here in Gainesville, it is pale in comparison to the sense of tragedy I feel when I ponder the long term effects this ignorant display will produce.

For one, this type of behavior only serves to reconfirm to the millions of skeptics in the world that ALL religion is, for the most part, extreme, fanatical and for the disillusioned. Second, it is in diametric opposition to the teaching of scripture.

Romans 12:17 “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God, for the scriptures say, I will take revenge, I will pay them back says the Lord. Instead, if your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this you will heap coals of shame on their heads. DO NOT LET EVIL CONQUER YOU, BUT CONQUER EVIL BY DOING GOOD.”

I wish this brother would read that scripture and stop this madness. With all the incredible media attention his words of repentance and humility would be a beacon of hope and light instead of the dark stain it is bringing to the Kingdom.

Thirdly, and if for no other reason, their actions will fuel the growing hatred for Americans and our soldiers who are already in harms way. I pray that somehow God will take this situation and turn it into something good for His glory.

It bothers me that thousands of churches everyday are showing the true love of Christ by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, providing shelter to the homeless and bringing hope to the hopeless and many never even get a footnote on the last page of a local newspaper. But as soon as a church loses their spiritual minds and begins to breed hate it gets international headlines.

I sincerely pray for these people and for this volatile situation. I pray the world will realize that even though there are those here who do not accurately represent the life of Christ, the greater majority of the churches and believers here in Alachua county deeply love people, even those that do not believe as we believe.

As for us and our house, we will serve the Lord. And to serve the Lord means we must be willing to love, live in peace where possible and do good even to our enemies.

As for September 11, we must not use the occasion to rekindle hate or bitterness. But instead, we must allow the occasion to remind us that we live in a fallen world, a world that needs Christ now more than ever. And we must resolve to not allow evil to conquer us or permit it to reduce us down to its sinful size. But rather we must rise to the occasion.

If there was ever a time when love can prevail and must prevail… IT IS NOW.

As we fight for the faith I am reminded of the immortal words of the Apostle Paul, who knew well what it was like to be hated, despised and attacked, “So we must never get tired of doing the RIGHT THING. When the right season comes we will surely succeed if we never give up.” Galatians 6:9

All for Chirst,
J Mark